This short self-drive itinerary of Crete allows you to explore some of the key battlefields of the Battle of Crete from a base in Chania in addition to the stunning beaches, natural wonders, and rich historical and architectural heritage. With accommodation, rental car, and daily breakfast included, the suggested itinerary below can be adapted as you see fit. We highly recommend a visit to the Archaeological Museum in Heraklion and the nearby site of Knossos, legendary site of the Minotaur and King Minos.
- Take your time to explore Crete with accommodation breakfasts and rental car all provided.
- Explore the ancient and mysterious history of Minoan ruins
- Discover the special connection New Zealand has with Crete a legacy of WWII
Car rental as per itinerary based on Category B Suzuki Celerio or similar - upgrades available with supplement.
Please Note: This is a suggested itinerary. For those ending their car hire in Chania, a one-way rental fee of NZD $148 will apply.
- Important Information
Day 1: Heraklion
Welcome to Crete. Upon arrival in Heraklion you will be met by our local operator in Crete and transferred to your hotel. Remainder of the day is at leisure to unwind and soak up the local atmosphere.
Day 2: Heraklion – Chania (B)
This morning your car will be delivered to your hotel for you to begin your self-drive tour of discovery. The small Battle of Crete Museum is definitely worth a visit. Later we suggest a visit of the ancient city of Knossos (20-30 mins drive). Cradle of the Minoan civilisation, the ruins of Knossos date back to 1650 BC. Very little is known about the Minoan civilisation and some think that it may be the Atlantis of mythology.
Continue to Chania for overnight (4 hrs drive.)
Day 3: Chania (B)
Drive to the area of Maleme Airfield (not open to the public) to view the point of the German paratrooper invasion. Today should also include a stop at Hill 107 and Platanias.
Vanilla restaurant is a fantastic place to have some food meet with the owner, whose father fought in the Battle of Crete, and see the war memorabilia they have collected & preserved from the battle.
Day 4: Chania (B)
We recommend a visit to the small village of Galatas, scene of very fierce fighting for the NZ Battalions, and Souda Bay War Cemetery where 438 New Zealanders remain buried.
Day 5: Chania (B)
Take a day trip to the site of the main evacuation at Sphakia (also spelt Hora Sfakion). En-route seize the opportunity to visit a family-owned private museum hosting artefacts from WWII and previous Cretan wars in a typical local home.
This private and not well known collection of artefacts from WWII (as well as previous Cretan wars) is well worth the stop, especially for those with an interest in military equipment and firearms. The collector travelled all over Crete collecting machine guns, pistols, helmets, medals, grenades, bombs, mines, cannon, cannon balls, anti-aircraft guns, uniforms, radios, and every German, British, and Greek artefact he could locate. (There may be a small entrance fee but if not please have some EURO cash available to make a donation - this is a very important part of WWII history.) Details of this exclusive and private collection will be provided by Innovative Travel upon confirmation and final payment of this holiday.
Day 6: Chania (B)
Perhaps visit one of the beautiful villages to the west of Crete, visit a local winery, take a walk in the Gorges, or relax at some of Crete’s most famous beaches in Elafonissi or Falasarna. We suggest you also take the time to explore the Old Centre of Chania. Walk through the old centre and along the Venetian harbour. Later return your car rental at Chania port or airport (one way fee applies) or return it to Heraklion.
Note: The itinerary above is a suggestion only and you may want to visit different sites along the way. We recommend you buy a comprehensive map and guidebook of Crete to plan your self-drive according to your specific points of interests and make the most of your holiday.
- Accommodation in chosen class of hotels with private facilities
- Daily breakfast
- Arrival transfer from the port / airport to your hotel
- Car hire in selected category
- Travel Notes
- International Airfares
- Visas (unless specified)
- Personal Expenses
- Tipping/gratuities (please refer to tour notes for a recommended guideline)
- Extra hotel charges (minibar or any other services)
- Meals not specified
- Departure taxes (if applicable)
- Port taxes and fuel surcharges (if applicable)
- Early check in/late checkout
- Any other services not clearly mentioned in the inclusions above
Cars in Crete: The standard of the rental vehicles in Crete is generally lower than that of Central Europe and New Zealand. These cars are late model manual vehicles as opposed to new cars. They are well serviced and reliable. Automatic vehicles can be requested a surcharge applies. It is common practice that the car is delivered with a non-full (and quite often almost empty) tank. Make sure you fill in your tank before leaving town. At the end of your tour the car is expected to be returned with a similar level of fuel as when first delivered.
Accommodation based on the below or similar
Tourist Class: Olympic Hotel (Standard Room)
First Class: Castello City (Standard Room)
Tourist Class: Kirti Hotel (Standard Room)
First Class: Porto Veneziano (Standard Sea View)
** ACCOMMODATION TAX**The Greek government established a tourist tax (which came into effect in 2018 - Law 4389 / 27-05-2016 article 53 Accommodation Taxation) for all tourists staying in any kind of Hotel, Apartment, Villa, etc. in any destination in Greece. This tax is applied locally and is payable at check-in or check-out depending on your hotel. The tax is a fixed Euro amount based on the property rating.
**FERRIES**All ferry schedules may be subject to change, due to local conditions (including weather) and/or possible port congestion and the final requirements of the ferry companies. The cancellation or non operation of the ferries is a decision of the shipping company and the Ministry of Shipping. This is outside the control of our operators and Innovative Travel who confirm ferries in good faith.
If certain classes of ferries are not operating for any reason, the next best option will be used whether alternate ferries or flights. Example: If Hydrofoils are non-operational for any reason, clients booked on them may have to use alternative regular ferries in a first class seat. Any additional charges are at the clients expense.
Greek Island ferries are usually quite large, offering restaurant/cafeteria/bar facilities, though normally no swimming facilities. Porters are rarely available at ferry ports, so your luggage should be only as much as you can carry.
Ferry Rhodes / Marmaris: Unlike standard ferries connections between Greek Islands, the ferry between Rhodes and Marmaris is an international one. Our local operator in Rhodes will provide you with a voucher that you will exchange at the port where you will have to queue to receive your boarding pass and pay the Greece departure tax.
Connecting to International Flights from the Islands. We suggest client do not depart from Athens on the same day as they embark on ferries from the Cyclades or beyond. If departures are scheduled for this day we suggest flying directly into Athens airport.
*** FERRY TICKETS***The majority of ferry tickets are paper tickets. A handling fee is included in the price of the tickets when purchased with other arrangements in Athens. If clients are not using the service of our local representative in Athens a delivery and additional handling fee may be charged. ( This applies particularly when an island hopping programme begins on the islands). Ferry tickets are non-refundable and non-changeable once issued. All tickets are issued locally in Greece.
Ferry schedules in Greece are constantly changing. Final ferry tickets are generally issued 2 weeks prior departure. To avoid client disappointment tickets are purchased on the best available scheduled departure at that time. If a client wants to make changes after tickets are purchased a change fees will apply payable locally and clients will be responsible for collecting the tickets from the ferry terminal on the day of departure. Final embarkation timings will be confirmed to clients by our representative in Greece.
The local Greece representatives are available to assist clients in case of emergencies or cancellations of ferries. They will also assist to make changes to a booking – any additions or changes to service may incur charges and these must be paid locally.
*** TRANSFERS***Transfers are supplied by drivers and are not guided. Some drivers may only have a basic command of English.
*** THE ISLANDS***Traditionally the Greek Islands main travel season is from May to October. For clients arriving in April and towards the end of the season, many facilities and hotels may not be operational. The infrastructure on Santorini and Mykonos is well developed the other islands accommodation including Naxos and Paros have less developed infrastructure with accommodation generally a slightly lower standard. This is compensated for by atmosphere and charm.
**DOUBLE BEDS**Please note we have requested a double bedded room/cabin but cannot guarantee one will be available. In Greece/Turkey double room/cabin are very limited. Please ask on check-in with the hotel/cruise boat to see what is available.
*** CRUISE DEPARTURES FROM ATHENS ***We suggest that a pre nights accommodation and an arrival transfer are booked, from your Athens Hotel to the port, to connect with the correct ferry/cruise. Due to the size and congestion at the port it can be difficult to find the correct terminal and the cruise departure point often changes without prior notice. The local operator will be informed of these details to avoid potential problems.
*** CABIN ALLOCATION ON CRUISES ***Celestial Cruise Cabin numbers are confirmed generally 2 weeks prior to cruise departures. This may vary from the cabin allocated at the time of confirmation of the booking. *** CRETE SELF DRIVE ***The standard of the rental vehicles in Crete is generally lower than that of Central Europe and New Zealand. These cars are late model manual vehicles as opposed to new cars. They are well serviced, and reliable. Automatic vehicles can be requested, a surcharge applies. It is common practice that the car is delivered with a non-full (and quite often almost empty) tank. Make sure you fill in your tank before leaving town. At the end of your tour the car is expected to be returned with a similar level of fuel as when first delivered.
*** ATHENS SIGHTSEEING & GREECE MAINLAND COACH TOURS ***Scheduled tours and sightseeing are bilingual unless specified. Wifi may be available on full day tours to Delphi, Argolis and all multi day tours.